Document Type


Publication Date



Pretrial motion success, Trial success, Plaintiff success in litigation, Plaintiff success at pretrial motion, Plaintiff success at trial stages, Empirical legal studies


Applied Statistics | Civil Procedure | Litigation


Legal cases that reach trial are a biased subset of underlying disputes. This makes it difficult to study the legal system by observing tried cases. This paper examines the relationship between plaintiff success at pretrial motion and trial stages across many categories of cases. The large, significant positive relationship between plaintiff success rates at these two procedural stages suggests that characteristics of case categories influence outcomes at both stages. Observers of a category of tried cases or cases resolved by motion can make informed judgments about how that category of cases fares at the other procedural stage.

Publication Citation

Published in: Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, vol. 154, no. 1 (1991).